Sunday, June 5, 2016

Bryce Day 1

We hit the road at 8 o'clock and took a really beautiful route to Bryce Canyon National Park. We went down through Levan and Gunnison, stopping briefly at Grandma Benson's grave in Centerfield and on to Salina. Then we went South on I-70 to Koosharem, on down past Otter Creek, and through Antimony. It was a spectacular drive, and the coyote we saw dash across the road made it really special!

We stopped in one old ghost town called Osiris south of Antimony. The boys really love these stops, and a few of them proclaimed this the best hike of the day, even though we just walked around amongst a few old buildings. For lunch we pulled off the road just north of Bryce City in a shady spot in the spruces and Mom made sandwiches while we ate in the car. It was really cool and pleasant.
We love exploring the old ghost towns.
The boys have so much fun searching around these old sites.
I caught this bird and pronghorn in one picture on our drive.
Seth was pretending to be a deer.
We had a great picnic in the van under a shade tree on the side of the road.
When we arrived at Bryce, we stopped at the Visitor's Center for Junior Ranger stuff, watched the movie, and then drove all the way to the end of the road. We did a short hike called the Bristlecone Loop. It was flat and easy and very, very beautiful. We've been a bit worried about Dax this trip because he had some warts removed on his knee and there is a really nasty open wound. Over the last few days he's complained a lot about the pain, but with many prayers and a blessing, he didn't complain on the hike today at all. Seth was also a great hiker, and Mark always does well.
Dax had a lot of fun pretending to be a mountain lion in the Visitor's Center.
There are some beautiful views on the Bristlecone trail.
We even got a family picture on this trail.
Dax and Seth have to take a walking stick on every trail which drives Mom crazy!
So dad found one for this trip, too.
We spotted this wasp carrying a spider across the trail. We watched it for quite a while because we were fascinated by it.
Later we learned at a Ranger Program that it is called a Metallic wasp and they hunt spiders and carry them back to their nests for their young to eat. The ranger told us we were pretty lucky to spot it! 
These boys are the best hikers around!
....And the craziest, too!
After the hike we drove back along the scenic road through Bryce and stopped at most of the overlooks. The boys were really impressed with the two natural bridges we saw at the overlooks, and they liked looking hundreds of miles across the canyon.

Dax took this picture of us at Rainbow Point overlook.
Dad loves to take selfies with mom!
The boys loved spotting animals and windows at all the overlooks.
After the overlooks, we went to another hike called Mossy Cave. There is a nice grotto and a waterfall on this short walk. The waterfall is beautiful right now even though we couldn't get super close. The boys enjoyed seeing a tanager at the grotto, even though they were a little disappointed that they wouldn't need their headlamps at the cave after Dax had carried them. When 5 turkey vultures began to circle we quickly headed back to the van.
The waterfall was beautiful. We wished we could have gotten closer.
Another family photo at Mossy Cave.
This beautiful Western Tanager was flying around near the cave.
There were a lot of turkey vultures soaring over this hike!
Next we checked in at our cabin in Cannonville. It is really nice with a shower, microwave, and refrigerator. Seth said the best thing about this trip is sleeping in the cabin. Mom made tacos in the cabin for us, so we all ate really well.

We weren't ready to be done with the day, though, so we drove down to Kodachrome Basin State Park. We did a short hike to Shakespeare Arch and drove out to Chimney Rock. We saw both a cottontail rabbit and a black-tailed jackrabbit along the road. It was a really nice day.
Dad loves to explore every nook and cranny.
We could stand right under Shakespeare Arch.
The boys are definitely climbers!
We saw a lot of bunnies on the ride home. This jackrabbit was nice enough to stop for a picture.

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